UPDATE 1-Rain dims hopes for Bombardier CSeries' first flight this week

Mon Sep 9, 2013 6:09pm EDT
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* Bombardier desires "optimal weather" for inaugural flight

* Environment Canada forecasts rain all week in Quebec town

* Plane performed high-speed taxi runs on Monday morning

By Solarina Ho

TORONTO, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Rainy, cloudy weather is forecast for Bombardier Inc's flight test site in Quebec for much of this week, adding to suspense over the unspecified date for the maiden flight of the Canadian company's all-new CSeries jetliner.

The 100- to 149-seat CSeries is the first completely new narrow-body aircraft in its class in decades, and is Bombardier's attempt to break into a market dominated by Airbus and Boeing Co.

The first flight is an important milestone for the CSeries, and the $3.4 billion aircraft is already nine months behind its original schedule.

Bombardier, the world's fourth-largest plane maker, has said the CSeries will be more fuel-efficient and economical than other planes in its class.

The Montreal-based plane and train-maker said on Monday it was "getting close" to first flight, the start of the next phase of the program that will determine whether the CSeries can live up to its performance and efficiency promises.   Continued...